Monday, November 30, 2009

Barnacles and Whale Lice

Barnacles are a fact of life for gray whales. There are hundreds of pounds of barnacles on gray whales. These barnacles attach to themselves to gray whales in the lagoons when baby whales are born. Barnacles are on gray whales for as long as they are alive. Barnacles depigment the skin when they attach, when barnades die and fall off they leave a small round white circle or ring. Barnacle scars create a unique pattern on each whale, which can help in identification of the gray whale.

Gray whales also have whale lice which are not true parasites. They feed on the skin and damaged tissue actually helping the whales. Whale lice are orange colored patches around the barnacles and in crevices of the whales body such as creases and the mouth line. To get rid of the whale lice whales rub themselves along the sea bottom or breach. Gray whales feed on the bottom sediments such as amphipods and scrape off barnacles and whale lice as they feed. You can tell if a whale is right or left rostrumed by seeing which side has the barnacles scraped off. Most whales are right rostrumed.

It’s been a great year for us at Dockside but as the winter months approach the ocean conditions change and sometimes the ocean can get rough. Our daily updates for whale watching will be back in the spring. Whale watching for the winter migration will start in mid-December and will be running thru the New Year. I will keep you informed on the migration sightings and how the boat maintenance is going. We look forward to seeing you in 2010.

The Whales Tail has been pulled out of the water for boat and engine maintenance. We will have some new ideas and equipment for next year which we anticipate will make your whale watching better. Keep checking back for weekly updates.

Thank you for visiting our web site, we hope to see you aboard the Whales Tail.

Dockside Charters
270 Coast Guard Pl.
Depoe Bay, Oregon 97341
(541) 765-2545